Author Archive: Deepa Subramaniam

Announcing Flex User Group 2012 Tour: North America Dates

As we promised at the end of last year, we are kicking off an international Flex User Group Tour to discuss recent announcements regarding Flex and the Flash Platform. These meetings will clarify any changes to Flex and Flash including updates on the runtimes and tooling. Additionally, the sessions will educate folks about the Apache process and what it takes for Flex SDK, as a project within the Apache Software Foundation, to continue to thrive. These meetings will be the best place to get accurate and up-to-date information about anything related to Flex.

Below are the cities and dates for our first wave of visits in North America. Europe and Asia dates will be posted shortly. Please refer to individual user group sites for detailed descriptions about the Flex sessions and speakers, including information on how to register to attend. Note: This information will be posted in the coming weeks and we will update this blog post with more detailed information as it becomes available.

We hope to meet and talk with as many developers as possible – so mark the dates and we’ll see you there!

North America

 

An Update on Flex

I wanted to share a brief update on where we are with our preparation of proposals for incubation of Flex SDK and BlazeDS to the Apache Software Foundation as well as our commitment to engaging with the Flex community further.

Regarding the incubation proposals, we have received all of the necessary Adobe legal clearance in order to contribute the full Flex SDK (including MXML compiler, automation libraries and data visualization components) to Apache. As such we have a draft incubation proposal for Flex SDK prepared and are aiming to post that to the Apache incubation mailing list within the next 1-2 weeks. Once the proposal has been posted, the normal process is that community members review the proposal for a period of time (normally 72 hours) after which the ASF votes. A positive vote means the project has been accepted as an incubation podling into Apache. Keep an eye out on this blog for regular status updates, including a link to the proposal once its been posted to the Apache incubation mailing list.

As for BlazeDS, at this time we are still working on legal clearance but aim to have that before the end of the year such that we can post the BlazeDS incubation proposal to the Apache mailing list at the start of the new year.

In order to better facilitate discussion with our broad developer community, next Monday (12/12/11) and Tuesday (12/13/11) Adobe is hosting a Flex Community Summit where we are inviting a number of Flex community leaders and enterprise developers to participate in a discussion on a variety of topics. We will be discussing the recent announcements regarding Flex and the Flash Platform as well as educating all attendees about the Apache process and what it takes for a project to thrive within Apache. Unfortunately, due to budget, we were unable to invite everyone we would have liked to the summit. Most of the summit sessions and ensuing discussions will be video-taped and posted publicly after the summit. Additionally, we are working on a Flex Whitepaper that we will publish on the Adobe Developer Center which will recap much of the content covered in the summit.

And lastly, in order to replicate the same discussions that will happen at the summit, we are organizing a multi-city international Flex User Group tour that we are looking to kick off in early 2012.

We’ll be sure to share regular updates on this blog as the Apache proposals progress, the Flex Community Summit content is posted and cities/dates are finalized for the 2012 Flex User Group tour.

Deepa Subramaniam
Group Product Manager, Adobe

Your Questions About Flex

This article has been updated as of 11/15/11 – additional questions and answers below.

With the recent announcements this week, we know that the Flex community has many questions regarding Adobe’s plans around the Flex SDK. Let us try to answer the questions we’ve heard.

Is Adobe still committed to Flex?

Yes. We know Flex provides a unique set of benefits for enterprise application developers.  We also know that the technology landscape for application development is rapidly changing and our customers want more direct control over the underlying technologies they use. Given this, we are planning to contribute the Flex SDK to an open source foundation in the same way we contributed PhoneGap to the Apache Foundation when we acquired Nitobi.

This project will be jointly led by some developers from the Flex SDK engineering team along with key developers from the Flex community, including members of the Spoon Project and contributors from enterprise companies currently using Flex. Flex SDK feature development will continue under a new governance model and Adobe will continue to contribute to the Flex SDK.

Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development?

In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.

Given our experiences innovating on Flex, we are extremely well positioned to positively contribute to the advancement of HTML5 development, starting with mobile applications. In fact, many of the engineers and product managers who worked on Flex SDK will be moving to work on our HTML efforts. We will continue making significant contributions to open web technologies like WebKit & jQuery, advance the development of PhoneGap and create new tools that solve the challenges developers face when building applications with HTML5.

Will previously discussed Flex roadmap features be released?

The Flex roadmap will be determined by the governing board once it’s been established. We plan to contribute framework features previously highlighted as part of Adobe’s Flex roadmap, into this new project.

Is Adobe still committed to Flash Builder?

Yes. Flash Builder will continue to be developed and Adobe will work to ensure Flex developers can use Flash Builder as their development tool with future releases of Flex SDK.

Will Adobe continue to support customers using Flex?

Yes. Adobe will continue to honor existing Flex support contracts.

So, what’s next?

We are close to wrapping up development on Flex 4.6 SDK and it will be released on November 29th 2011. Following this, we will begin the process of moving to the open development model described above.

On a personal note, we recognize we could have handled the communication better and promise to share regular updates over the coming weeks and months.

We believe these changes to the Flex SDK development model will ensure that the broader community can continue to use and directly enhance Flex for many years to come.

 

************ UPDATE – 11/15/11 ************

 

Further to the above questions and answers, we received many comments for clarification and additional information on certain topics. We have provided answers to these below:

What specifically is Adobe proposing?

We are preparing two proposals for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation.

In addition to contributing the core Flex SDK (including automation and advanced data visualization components), Adobe also plans to donate the following:

  • Complete, but yet-to-be-released, Spark components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid.
  • BlazeDS, the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Flex applications.
  • Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is currently under development (this will be contributed when complete in 2012)
  • Falcon JS, an experimental cross-compiler from MXML and ActionScript to HTML and JavaScript.
  • Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality

Adobe will also have a team of Flex SDK engineers contributing to those new Apache projects as their full-time responsibility. Adobe has in-development work already started, including additional Spark-based components.

Isn’t Adobe just abandoning Flex SDK and putting it out to Apache to die? 

Absolutely not – we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Flex and know that it will continue to provide significant value for many years to come. We expect active and on-going contributions from the Apache community. To be clear, Adobe plans on steadily contributing to the projects and we are working with the Flex community to make them contributors as well.

Flex has been open source since the release of Flex 3 SDK. What’s so different about what you are announcing now?

Since Flex 3, customers have primarily used the Flex source code to debug underlying issues in the Flex framework, rather than to actively develop new features or fix bugs and contribute them back to the SDK.

With Friday’s announcement, Adobe will no longer be the owner of the ongoing roadmap. Instead, the project will be in Apache and governed according to its well-established community rules. In this model, Apache community members will provide project leadership. We expect project management to include both Adobe engineers as well as key community leaders. Together, they will jointly operate in a meritocracy to define new features and enhancements for future versions of the Flex SDK. The Apache model has proven to foster a vibrant community, drive development forward, and allow for continuous commits from active developers.

How will the open source governance work? Where will it be hosted? Who will manage the project? Will Adobe still effectively control the Flex roadmap? How can I contribute?

We are actively working on getting the Flex SDK and BlazeDS projects accepted as incubator podlings at the Apache Software Foundation. We expect to have more information to share on progress in the next few weeks.

We are actively working with members of the Flex community to ensure they are involved in the project management along with Adobe engineers.

What guarantees can Adobe make in relation to Flex applications continuing to run on Flash Player and Adobe AIR?

Adobe will continue to support applications built with Flex, as well as all future versions of the SDK running in PC browsers with Adobe Flash Player and as mobile apps with Adobe AIR indefinitely on Apple iOS, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.

How will open source Flex development continue against Flash Player and Adobe AIR?

Flex SDK development will continue against released versions of the Flash Player and Adobe AIR runtimes, providing a stable and supported environment for Flex applications.

You said Adobe is committed to Flash Builder – what exactly does that mean in the context of future Flex SDK support?

Future versions of Adobe Flash Builder will continue to provide code editing, compilation, debugging and profiling support for Flex applications. Adobe will undertake the required work to ensure Flash Builder is compatible with future releases of Flex SDK.

Previously communicated road map features, such as enhanced code editing, real-time error highlighting and compile-as-you-type support will be available to both ActionScript and Flex developers.

Is Flex SDK still a viable technology option for existing and new projects?

Absolutely. Flex SDK will continue to be developed, maintained and released as an open source project that Adobe actively contributes to.

You said that you believe HTML is the “long-term solution for enterprise applications” – can you clarify this statement?

HTML5 related technologies (comprising HTML, JavaScript and CSS) are becoming increasingly capable, such that we have every reason to believe that advances in expressiveness (e.g. Canvas), performance (e.g. VM and GPU acceleration in many browsers) and application-related capabilities (e.g. offline storage, web workers) will continue at a rapid pace. In time (and depending upon your application, it could be 3-5 years from now), we believe HTML5 could support the majority of use cases where Flex is used today.

However, Flex has now, and for many years will continue to have, advantages over HTML5 for enterprise application development – in particular:

  • Flex offers complete feature-level consistency across multiple platforms
  • The Flex component set and programming model makes it extremely productive when building complex application user interfaces
  • ActionScript is a mature language, suitable for large application development
  • Supporting tools (both Adobe’s and third-party) offer a productive environment with respect to code editing, debugging and profiling

Our announcements relating to changes in the way Flex SDK is developed do not change the fundamental value-add of Flex or make HTML5 suddenly more capable than it was last week.

We intend to make investments in HTML-related technologies, so that we can help advance HTML5 to make it suitable for enterprise applications.

Will Adobe provide migration tools to enable existing Flex applications to be converted to HTML/JavaScript?

We have undertaken some experimental work in this area, but remain unsure as to the viability of fully translating Flex-based content to HTML.

The Falcon JS cross-compiler, referenced above, represents this early work and we intend to contribute this to the open source project. 

What happens next?

We are actively working on the proposal for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation. Once the proposals have been accepted, both Adobe and community contributors can begin committing contributions. We will share an update when the incubator proposal has been posted – we expect this to happen over the course of the next few weeks.

We are working on providing you with more detailed information relating to the open source contributions we are making, how you can contribute to Flex SDK and BlazeDS through Apache’s contribution model and our HTML5-related plans.

We’d like an opportunity to talk to as many Flex developers as possible in person about these changes – to that end, members of the Flex product team along with Adobe evangelists will be organizing a multi-city international tour to enable more direct discussions. Stay tuned for more information.

If there are any questions we have not addressed, please post them in the comments. We ask that you keep questions and comments on topic.

Andrew Shorten & Deepa Subramaniam
Group Product Managers, Adobe

Flex 4.5 SDK, Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 Now Available!

We are absolutely thrilled to share with you that Flex 4.5 SDK , Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 have officially shipped and are available for download! We are very proud to share these major updates to the Flex product family with you. With these releases, we are giving developers and designers the premiere set of tooling workflows to rapidly design, develop and deploy rich applications to the web, desktop and now smartphones and tablets!

We highly encourage everyone to download trial builds of Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5. Take the new mobile workflows for a spin and leverage Flex to build smartphone and tablet applications for Google Android (we will be shipping an update to Flex 4.5 SDK and Flash Builder 4.5 in June that will enable Flex project support on Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS). Additionally, brush up on the dozens of new coding features in Flash Builder 4.5 that help you write MXML and ActionScript code better and faster. And of course, take advantage of the new bi-directional workflow newly introduced between Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5.

In case you need a refresher on what is new in all of these releases, check out the comprehensive introductory articles below.

Also, make sure to check out the new Flex.org site, which has lots of additional content and resources on Flex.

Enjoy!

Register for Flash Camp 2011!

We are very excited to be hosting at Adobe, San Francisco a Flash Camp event on April 30th. This is going to be a rad event! This time around, the Flash Camp is a bit different. For starters, its on a Saturday – this means the fun will run all-day and include keynotes and sessions by Adobe Flex/Flash Builder team members as well as hands-on coding camps and labs. Of course, the usual beer and goodies will be provided and plenty of members from the engineering and product management teams will be in attendance!

The main focus of the camp is around mobile development. To that end, we’ll help you build a mobile application during the course of the camp and we’ll be giving away awesome prizes at the end for the best apps! So, come to Flash Camp to learn how to build a mobile application from scratch, or bring an application you’re already working on and polish it up during the event. Regardless of what you do, this is a not-to-miss event where you can learn hands-on from the experts about how to use Flex & Flash Builder to build performant standalone mobile applications on Android, Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS!

Hope to see many of you there – register here!

Compatibility Matrix for Mobile Development with Flash Builder 4.5

Now that we have announced new workflows in Flash Builder 4.5 to develop, debug and deploy standalone mobile applications for smartphones and tablets, let’s take a moment to clarify which build of Flash Builder will provide Flex and ActionScript mobile project support for Android, Blackberry Tablet OS and Apple iOS.

First off, it’s important to understand the distinction between Flex Mobile projects and ActionScript Mobile Projects. With Flex Mobile projects, you can use all of the new mobile specific functionality added to the core Flex SDK to develop Flex-based mobile applications. For example, Flex Mobile projects lets you use the new Flex mobile components like ViewNavigatorApplication and ViewNavigator to handle the navigation of application views and persistence of data and UI across those views (learn all about the new mobile features in Flex and Flash Builder 4.5 here). Flash Builder 4.5 helps you create a new Flex Mobile project through the File -> New menu:

Similarly, Flash Builder 4.5 helps you create an ActionScript Mobile Project which lets you use pure-ActionScript to build an application for mobile devices (ie, if you are building a game). In an ActionScript Mobile Project, you cannot us any Flex classes within the project.

It’s important to note that both Flex Mobile and ActionScript Mobile projects provide the full workflows in Flash Builder to develop mobile projects in code, in design view, preview the application on the desktop or on the device, debug on the desktop or on the device and package up the application for delivery to a marketplace.

We have officially announced Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex SDK 4.5 which will ship in May of 2011. Flash Builder 4.5 will ship full support for building AIR-based Flex and ActionScript applications atop Google Android. Additionally, Flash Builder 4.5 will ship full support for building AIR-based ActionScript applications atop Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS.

We will deliver an update to Flex SDK 4.5 and Flash Builder 4.5 (hereby referred to as Flex SDK 4.5.X and Flash Builder 4.5.X) in June of 2011 which will enable building AIR-based Flex applications atop Apple iOS as well as Blackberry Tablet OS. This compatibility matrix may be confusing to understand initially, so the table below aims to illustrate the mobile project support for each platform with each release of Flash Builder.

*Project will actually target AIR 2.5. You will need to make a manual change to your project to enable this configuration. This will be clearly documented on the Adobe Developer Center and RIM’s developer site upon launch in May, 2011.

We are incredibly excited to ship Flex/Flash Builder 4.5 in May and follow that release up with a quick update for full Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS support in June!

 

 

Announcing Flex SDK 4.5, Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5!

Just over one year after Flash Builder 4, Flex SDK 4 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.0 shipped, we are incredibly proud to announce Creative Suite 5.5 which includes Flash Builder 4.5, Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 and Flex SDK 4.5! Together, these three products bring developers and designers the premiere set of tooling workflows to rapidly design, develop and deploy rich applications on the web, desktop and now mobile smartphones and tablets!

Most notably, we are excited to introduce new capabilities in Flex to build applications for Google Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and Apple iOS. Flex SDK 4.5  adds new mobile components and capabilities into the core Flex framework to build performant, standalone applications running atop Adobe AIR. Additionally, Flash Builder 4.5 gives developers a full set of workflows to rapidly build, debug and deploy mobile applications built with Flex SDK 4.5 or pure ActionScript. You can learn all about the new mobile development features in Flex and Flash Builder 4.5 by reading Narciso (NJ) Jaramillo’s article on the Adobe Developer Center.

To get a high-level understanding of new Spark components added to Flex SDK 4.5 as well as broader improvements to the core Flex framework, check out Deepa Subramaniam’s overview. Similarly, grab a birds-eye view of all of the exciting development enhancements to Flash Builder 4.5 by reading Andrew Shorten’s introductory article here. And of course, take in all the new workflows enabled by Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 by reading Jacob Surber’s overview article here.

In addition to the exciting new mobile features and workflows added to Flex and Flash Builder, we focused on significantly improving productivity for developers and designers. For developers, we have made it much easier to write Flex and ActionScript code. Flash Builder 4.5 introduces dozens of new coding productivity features which rapidly accelerate the coding and testing of Flex and ActionScript projects. Whether you’re writing MXML or ActionScript, the new Flash Builder 4.5 coding features will make you write better code faster. To understand all of the new coding and productivity features in Flash Builder 4.5, regardless if you’re a Flex or pure-ActionScript developer, read Sameer Bhatt and Sreenivas Ramaswamy’s article on the ADC.

Additionally, we focused on building a robust bi-directional workflow between developers and designers. Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 introduces a new bi-directional workflow with Flash Builder 4.5 such that designers and developers can work together to create rich and visually expressive Flex components and applications. Check out Jacob Surber’s article to understand the new workflows introduced in Flash Catalyst CS 5.5.

It doesn’t stop there – we are proud to announce a new addition to our Flash Builder product family – Flash Builder for PHP! Co-developed in partnership with Adobe and Zend Technologies, Flash Builder for PHP provides the perfect development environment for building expressive applications with Flex and PHP for the web and mobile devices. To read up on all of the detailed workflows Flash Builder for PHP provides Flex and PHP developers, check out this overview article by Kevin Schroeder.

We are very excited with the wealth of new features and workflows available in this next release of the Flex product family. Please take advantage of all of these new features and workflows by pre-ordering the products today! To learn more about the pricing options for Flash Builder 4.5 (Standard Edition, Premium Edition, Standard PHP Edition and Premium PHP Edition) check out this handy Flash Builder Buying Guide. Additionally, you can pre-order Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 here.

We hope that you all have as much fun designing and developing applications with these new releases as we on the product teams did making them. And with that, go forth and build more apps!

Sincerely,

Flex, Flash Builder & Flash Catalyst Product Teams

Flex, Flash Builder & Flash Catalyst Teams at 360Flex Denver

The Flex team is thrilled that 360Flex Denver is right around the corner! This is going to be a fantastic event with a stellar lineup of speakers and sessions, including engineering and product management representatives from the Adobe Flex, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst teams. We will demonstrate the Flash Builder and Flex SDK 4.5 features and workflows for building mobile applications for deployment on Android, iOS and RIM devices, as well highlight the dozens of new coding productivity enhancements in Flash Builder that will significantly speed up ActionScript and MXML coding. Additionally, we will be showcasing the enhanced design workflows in Flash Catalyst ‘Panini’ including roundtripping with Flash Builder.

It doesn’t stop there….we have some new announcements to share about mobile platform support as well as publicly discussing the new (and improved) open source contribution model for the Flex SDK. Additionally, we will have sneaks of upcoming features slated for the next versions of the Flex product family.

Check out the 360Flex Denver schedule to make sure you know when Adobe members are speaking. Below are some must-see sessions that I’d highly recommend attending before they fill up:

  • What’s New in Flash Builder 4.5, Andrew Shorten
  • What’s New in Flex SDK 4.5, Deepa Subramaniam & Steven Shongrunden
  • Multi-Density & Multi-Platform Development with Flex SDK 4.5, Narciso (NJ) Jaramillo
  • Flash Builder Tips & Tricks, Sreenivas Ramaswamy
  • Flex Performance Tips & Tricks, Evtim Georgiev
  • Whats New in Flash Catalyst ‘Panini’, Jacob Surber & Peter Flynn

So, if you haven’t registered yet – get on it! You can get a special 20% discount by entering ‘AdobeRocks’ when you register. And, don’t forget, registration includes 4 hands-on sessions on Sunday which will deep dive into Flex 4 development, mobile development for Android and Blackberry Tablet OS as well as an introduction to Away3D.

See you in Denver!

Status of opensource.adobe.com

Some of you may have noticed that Adobe Open Source has been down for some time. The service is currently unavailable as we investigate a critical issue with our server infrastructure. We currently do not have an ETA on restoring service, but I will share more information as it becomes available. I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.

Thank you for your patience,

Deepa Subramaniam

Senior Product Manager, Flex SDK

UPDATE: Service to opensource.adobe.com was reinstated Friday, 10/22 at 5 PM PST.

Announcing the ActionScript Code Coverage Plugin for Flash Builder

We are very excited to share with the ActionScript community an ActionScript Code Coverage Plugin for Flash Builder 4. This plugin provides an Eclipse perspective that allows you to start/stop the code coverage tool, view generated code-coverage reports, examine source code and save/load reports. Typically developers will use the code coverage tool to see which areas of code have not been exercised during execution so that additional testing requirements can be identified.

The tool provides detailed line coverage and method coverage reporting, as well as highlighting classes that are not linked into the application. You can use the ActionScript Code Coverage Plug-in for Flash Builder with applications developed in ActionScript 3, optionally using either Flex SDK 3.x or Flex SDK 4.x, targeting both Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR®. A trial or licensed version of Adobe Flash Builder 4 Premium is required to use the ActionScript Code Coverage Plug-in.

You can access the plugin on Adobe Labs here, read documentation around using and configuring the code-coverage tool, and provide feedback via the code-coverage forum.